Ben Bartosik

July 31, 2023

Been consuming a bunch of Sinead O'Connor content over the last few days. She was such an absolutely remarkable spirit and it's tragic to see her gone. But I came across this interview with Alyson McCabe, who recently wrote a book about why Sinead O'Connor matters. It was a really good conversation but there was something that stood out to me. At one point McCabe said that Sinead O'Connor had almost no career self-preservation. Repeatedly she would let her ideals and her values override the conventional wisdom for celebrity success.

In an interview that O'Connor did in 2021, she herself said,

“I don’t define success by how much money you make. I define success, personally, by [asking myself] did I keep the contract I made when I made my holy communion and my confirmation? Which was to stay true to the very Christian beliefs that were drilled into me by the Catholic Church, which were the rejection of the material world in favour of truth. So I was just being me. I was just being a punk.”

As someone who has at times had a similar lack of career self-preservation because of my ideals, I resonated with all of this. I had a mentor who used to say, don't smoke your own supply. That is, don't buy into the hype of what people say about you -- good or bad. This seemed to be what Sinead O'Connor lived by. Do what seems right to you based on the values you try to live by, not aligning yourself to other people's expectations. That's not to say you shouldn't reflect on those values often, but let that be your measure of success; not status or money or whether or not people who don't even know you liked what you did.

Anyways, she was wonderful and I'm really trying to track down a copy of her Sean-Nós Nua album.